President Obama's tax deal

Monday, December 13, 2010; 12:30 AM

Before the midterm elections, my Republican neighbors were fond of asking me, as a liberal Democrat, whether I was happy with President Obama. Instead of saying no, as they expected, I said yes because it takes time to effect the changes I want. To the same question today, my response would be absolutely not. I don't foresee any improvement during Mr. Obama's final two years in office.

The compromise between the Republicans and the president on extending the Bush-era tax cuts ["Obama and GOP strike tax accord," front page, Dec. 7] cannot be allowed to go through. We can't afford to add so much to the national debt, which is already out of control. In addition, the proposed 2-percentage-point cut in payroll taxes through the end of next year needs careful examination to determine its long-term effect on the Social Security system. Social Security is vital to working and retired Americans, and changes to it must ensure its long-term viability.

I much prefer a "do-nothing Congress" to one that caves in to Republican demands. Liberal Democrats must use the filibuster in the Senate the way the Republicans have for the past two years.

Jim Beller, Rockville


"Obama and GOP strike tax accord" and "President extends olive branch to GOP" were Dec. 7's front-page news. How sad for all of us that these decisions were not based on the best interests of the country. Both decisions stemmed from senior administration officials "poring over returns, exit polls and midterm history." Surely there are experts who could have recommended what should have been done based upon the best interests of the country instead of the best interests of the party.

Joel L. Kristal, Rockville


President Obama's capitulation to a Republican bluff ranks him just behind Richard M. Nixon as a betrayer of the voters who elected him. Apparently, Mr. Obama reached this $700 billion "compromise" with an eye on his 2012 reelection, an obscene twist on the concept of public financing of elections. He has written the clarion call of his second inaugural: Ask not what the wealthy can do for their country; ask what their country can do for the wealthy.

David W. La Voy, Cheverly


After reading the Dec. 8 editorial "A deal worth doing," all I could think was that The Post could not be so naive as to believe that four moves that will increase spending - extending all of the Bush tax cuts, cutting the payroll tax, extending unemployment benefits and offering a generous deal on the estate tax - represent a "pivot to the harder work of long-term deficit reduction."

This reminds me of Charlie Brown believing that the next time, Lucy won't pull the football away just as he is about to kick it. As long as politicians have no backbone and care more about being reelected than governing, and the people hunger to hear what they want rather than what they need to hear, any real effort at deficit reduction remains a distant illusion.

Gary Sanders, Alexandria


I strongly support President Obama's leadership role in crafting the proposed tax accord. I believe that Americans want to see more responsible bipartisan cooperation in the crucial effort to solidify our economic recovery.

Too many liberal organizations espouse the narrow view that any compromise that includes backing away from President Obama's campaign promise to immediately repeal the Bush-era tax cuts is a travesty for the Democrats. Campaign pledges often wither in the face of bruising reality. During the campaign, few could have foreseen the depth of our economic problems and escalating jobless rate.

Instead, our president has taken the difficult step of postponing the campaign pledge in the interest of crafting a tax accord that will significantly help many middle- and lower- income American families. The accord extends not only jobless benefits but credit for college students to offset tuition costs. It expands the $1,000 child tax credit to more families. Yes, Republican leaders may claim success in fostering the need for this compromise. But the bigger claim of success may be by the American people who want a president and congressional leaders working together to compromise on issues that will help move our country forward.

Harriet Shugerman, Bethesda

The writer volunteers with the Maryland office of Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee.


Seems like just yesterday that the White House proposed a freeze on wages for all federal employees - "the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to reduce the nation's mounting deficit." Now we are being pitched a "compromise" that will keep tax cuts for the rich and extend unemployment benefits; the plan will add $700 billion to the deficit.

First, I take issue with this being called a "compromise" when both sides got what they wanted. Second, what happened to the fiscal responsibility that seemed so important less than two weeks ago?

Andy Walko, Springfield

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